Is the 'board' a visual symbol aurally punning on the homophonic term 'bored'?
Would it be too raw to suggest 'masturbatory massage' -- in a 'message'? In the finger motions?
And why am I avoiding what it is I am 'keyboarding'? Is the avoidance significant?
Why limit dream investigation to Freudian categories and methodology?
Is there something inherent in language -- or particular structures of Western languages -- that dictate how we think about this?
Should investigation of mental phenomena be restricted only to material explanation -- brain, neural system, physio-chemical interaction -- or is there a way of approaching 'mind' that can either 'parallel' or 'incorporate' (figuratively) the material and explain alternately?
What rollicking Christmas pleasure have I this day listening to my personally-compiled (jazzy, quirky) Holiday Music Mix! In paroxysms of laughter at my all-thumbs manner of scissoring, shaping, folding, taping, bowing, and handwriting!
Why do these people still want to know me? I ask, continuing, daring any and all comers finally to locate any motor-moron who wraps presents worse than I.
Rubbed away the lemon scent of Dead Sea salt the Dead Sea Man put on my palms with a spiritual intimacy reminding me of the character Elijah in Moby Dick (there will be a day when ye smell land and there be no land).
Listened to lectures on Middle English in my Japanese car.
Westfield Center, 11:50 a.m., scooting through crowds of shepherded children and 'adults' with Santa caps and reindeer ears and cellphones.
Holding myself straight up, tall -- a simulacrum of Sam Elliott or like Eastwood -- craggy, male, American, a cowboy -- comically with chocolates, analepsized to a plastic modern mall.
A man with a foreign accent interrupts my 'film' and asks if I've ever heard . . . What? (I couldn't hear). The Dead Sea (he says). Yes (I say). The Dead Sea (he says again). I know it (bending toward him).
And I know him from last year, the last time I spent shopping past these store stalls and the vendor carts for stuffed dogs, calendars, sweets, and slippers, cell phone plans, and rings.
He's selling me cosmetics, having put what looks like snowcone ice in my hand and he says now Smell, and I do my best and he says Nothing lives in the Dead Sea, but it brings back life.
And, as I smile and nod and mouth what looks like a (Thank you), back into the jar I overturn my hand the stuff he scooped to rejuvenate my skin and journey far into the wet Seattle day.
The woman sat near the woman who sat, sitting next to the woman who sat near her until the woman (sitting next to her) stopped.
Sitting perplexed, dumbfounded at the rising of the sitting woman near her, the woman still sitting, sat until she, too, stopped sitting, let her perplexity rise, too, to quest where the woman who'd sat now sat.
Sit down and let perplexity rise, dumbfoundedness stop, and sitting near to the woman who sat and now sits, sit still until near the woman and next to the woman, quest.
3 T shirts, each my size, for 30 bucks plus SH and tax.
Same provider, outsourced to another place.
This place sees my size at the small end of the range.
They fit, but they just fit.
Problem: Do I return them with a 'reason' to the provider?
Answer 1, The Rational Economist: By all means return the merchandise, let the provider know how his shipped product can be improved. You get new shirts, they sell better ones, the shirtmakers learn their trade better.
Answer 2, The Humanitarian: Returning the merchandise deters the provider from contracting with the shirtmakers who undersized (just) what you bought. That village of laborers gets bypassed for any future work and suffer commensurately.
Barbarians -- which is to say, most others -- seek to apply its practicality.
Science sees curiosity as its prime motive, and rewards freewheelingness of search so long as methods hold themselves trim and transparent, any practical results constituting only evidence, not purpose.
So, what to make of science that explores the brain, whose matter and organization so clearly relate to those traits we see distinguishing what's human?
Earlier intellectual examination of humanity speculated more or ideologically buttressed and justified itself. Both, maybe. What science might politely sequester-off as philosophy or, at moments of irritation or memory of persecution, superstition.
To avoid those, science held fast to what was empirical, could be sensed, and worked from there, always verifying from those tangible spots. Reducible to those tangibilities.
Method tended, therefore, to reductivism. That is the bias of science. Not wrong at all, necessarily, as a way of working. But finding firmer truth in what has been reduced most.
Brain science. Highly complex, a relatively new field. Valuable to medicine.
Has found where in the brain the senses 'reside' in order to coordinate perceptions. Has found some of the systemic interconnections among parts of the brain, between hemispheres of the brain, through layers of the brain.
Has speculated. Has speculated whether finding out 'where' higher human functions dwell within and among neural complexes, synaptic series -- whether finding 'where' tells us, simply, the 'just what'.
Consciousness. Morality. Compassion and self-sacrifice.
If we locate the 'substance' from which they operate, have we located 'them'?
Do we commit an 'idealist fallacy' if we see 'evolutionary structure' in such substance whose 'advantage' may allow development of something 'post-physical'?
Science, despite having a theoretical range, would not allow itself to go that far, seeing such a notion as a backward fall into superstition, a stepping too far away from the sensible.
1) Positive. Stand up and be counted. Frank Capra movies.
2) Neutral. My kids all love Disney.
3) Poisonous. Demagogy, nativism, Talk Radio, Rush, Palin, et alia.
The first two are sentimental.
The third, if it took as much hold as the money that finances its propagation, would mean the end of America.
Actually, the third -- if I may borrow from its own past lexicon of phrases -- is the anti-Americanism it itself has been denouncing decade by decade.
This is not stupidity we're speaking of. This is engineered stupidity -- finding the 'soft spot' of insecurity, working up its anger and fear, and aiming it at political opponents not in order to prove your point, but to destroy the opponents through force.
Beginning episodes of World At War (the Olivier-narrated series), on whose DVD was a 'making of' commentary explained by Jeremy Isaacs, the producer.
That segment talked about the 'historiography' involved in making a documentary film -- itself worth getting the whole. At one point, it highlighted contrasting interviews among Albert Speer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's sister-in-law, and an English woman who had married a German and who was living in Germany during the Nazizeit.
The interviews dealt with their reactions upon first learning of the butchery inside the concentration camps. The spread in response was noticeable, although not so melodramatic as a fiction would show it. Speer (now out of prison, years after the war) claiming regret at deliberately keeping a blind eye. Frau Bonhoeffer relating her shock that those around her back when it was happening were petrified to talk about it and sought to deny that her revelations were more than 'rumors', Allied propaganda.
The English woman -- who told her story of being asked to hide two Jewish children, but was seriously warned against doing so by confidantes, reluctantly allowed them to hide 'for two days'. They departed after their stay. Shortly after, she learned that they were picked up and shipped to the camps. In telling this, 1970s, the camera caught her hands fidgeting, turning around each other nervously. She says, looking away and down to the left, I knew then that Hitler had gotten me to commit murder.
A sequent clip was brought out by Isaacs to illustrate the kind of anecdotal vividness that shorn histories frequently ignore. The same English woman tells of riding, near the end of the war, in an exposed railway coach with an SS officer. His disillusionment is complete and he tells her that he has sought death and failed to find it in battle, always being ironically lucky to survive.
He had been part of a Waffen SS unit, a commando detachment in charge of eradicating civilians. One set of incidents haunted him enough to tell her. They had a group of villagers dig a large burial trench and were about to 'finalize' the proceedings. A man 'with long hair' among the victims came up to him and said, God is watching what you do here. He was shot before he could return to his place at the edge of the trench. A young boy stood erect, and said, Is this straight, Uncle?
The English woman and the SS officer travelled on that night, and once upon waking, she realized that she had fallen asleep with her head on his shoulder and that he had covered up her knees with his greatcoat. The next time she awoke, he was gone.
Why watch Winds of War, the made-for-TV 'saga' from the 80s, a multi-hour mini-series, extended to yet more multi-hours as War and Remembrance, both titles coming from Herman Wouk best-selling novels of the time?
1) Ali McGraw. Flat-voiced as she always was, nevertheless good-looking with marvelous legs. I think her 'dark beauty' satisfied someone's idea of a passable 'Jewish look', so her success earlier as Brenda, the Jewish Princess, in Goodbye, Columbus, led to the role here as Natalie Jastrow. She works her nostrils and puts up with nobody's guff. Frankly, she's hot.
2) Robert Mitchum. Always tending toward the 'sleepy', here should have been issued 'USN regulation' bedroll as a naval captain itching for a battle command and reluctantly being thrust into the highest diplomatic backchannels to show us history as it is unfolding. Just like McGraw, it's the 'screen glamor' that works. Old, tired, working-for-the-check, Mitchum still merits a gaze.
3) History to be watched by 11 year-olds. I'll rate it PG. Should be seen before middle school.
4) History as sentimentalized 40-plus years after the fact for a then-aging War generation of people sitting on sofas and planning Vegas vacations.
5) History as ironic reflection of what we took for granted and now have begun to see slip away: heroic America, the 'good guys', the 'world-beloved', the 'savior democracy' -- all those positive epithets and likely others now worn thin, or simply buffed-up at the Museum of the Right Wing.
6) History as the prospectus of a hedge fund, the kind of 'political capital' that a certain President, recently stepped-down, was willing to spend out of his sense of entrepreneurial caveat emptor on its surface manly, but in its recesses the sunken instablility of a lost child.
7) Ali McGraw: contact (this) home. There's a place by the hearth for you!
The scene in Fellini's Casanova where Donald Sutherland, as C -- the character aged now -- a librarian in the employ of Waldstein-Wartenberk at the latter's chateau, C seen by us the audience up to now throughout the film as a pre-eminent cocksman and witty rogue, see his face, alone, candle-light reflected. Candle-light extinguishing.
Poorly remembering this. The residual loneliness, though. Thus, memoir.
Fahrenheit up from the usual low 'corpse' readings that no doctors ever believe.
Three things from this illusory 'fever':
1) The word 'Edinburgh' appeared in the chance meanderings of the ceiling putty.
2) Reading about Gorky during 1917, his political good sense utterly lost upon that time, a man of letters judging the mob responses to Petrograd lawlessness. Then noting per chance an article in the newspaper about the release of Sarah Palin's book -- as a possible precursor for further political power.
3) Memory of head lights seen through glass -- home window? stationary car window? -- headlights moving in rain, feeling myself very young, younger than school age.
Society is vulnerable as a child.
The politics of this time pinprick stability like a fever.
Windmills Of Your Mind (Sting) Save Your Love For Me (Melissa Morgan) You Turned The Tables On Me (Anita O'Day) Isn't It A Pity? (Zoot Sims) How Long Has This Been Going On? (Julie London)
Tess's Torch Song (Dinah Shore) Until . . . (The Brodsky Quartet [and Sting]) What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? (Irene Atman) Two For The Road (Greta Matassa) My One And Only Love (Art Tatum and Ben Webster)
When 'Sea Surface Full Of Clouds' measures-off a visual re-apprehension over 5 sections in four pages.
Phrases travel thus, in parallels among the sections, showing interaction between the water and the viewer's interpretation:
From rosy chocolate and gilt umbrellas To chop-house chocolate and sham umbrellas; Further, in continuing parallel, to porcelain chocolate and pied umbrellas. Then, to musky chocolate and frail umbrellas, Finally Chinese chocolate and large umbrellas.
Poaching on beauty carries a purgatorial sentence. Read the entire poem, of course. Absorb it. The point is that such writing, such witnessing, isn't merely a rich and eccentric description. Not just, no.
No one I've ever known in my widest acquaintance had, or had ancestral memory of, yachting off Mexico during the Harding era. Stevens had such access and likely a social orientation to match. But what he's presenting isn't a position in society, still less a hedonistic gloating, the value of the scene in USD.
His aesthetic balance gets defined. It's not a vulgar having or enjoying that's at stake. It's the human imagining. He's able to attain literal -- not allegorical -- visions. And what's arrived at and held onto is a reality, a situating of oneself in the moment that shifts around, as all moments do.
If this were music, we'd understand the modulations.
Which sounds like a bold, optimistic 'shot' by a systems-oriented mathematician.
A label so big it's overpoweringly fit for the lit stage of stand-up comedy.
That individuals of our species can devise a name, such as 'The T of E', with a straight face might give us hope that there is indeed an 'upside' to what year-by-year slides dirtward closer and closer. Could be careerism, useful as a big notch in a resume, in one's own self-esteem. Could have the heft of achievement of a Fabergé egg, true creation, but have little commensurate effect, except on practitioners and collectors. Remember: This is the same species that finds it hard even to tie a shoe without self-interested hurry, grumbling sloth, incompetence, or anger.
For giving me this past hour reading Northrop Frye quoting Italo Calvino and having them both make sense of finding, amidst the difficulty of such finding, the place where literature vibrates between me and what's not-me.
That it were not its rough-and-tumble character or that labyrinth of its institutions, but something deep, deeper- lodged, past the shadow of the coccyx, tucked inside the birth canal, in the alpha and beta of its AGCT, coded genetically, irreparably --
If it were that that drives the conflict of its reason to the serial, mad, self-negating conclusions
Again and heavier mounting again that push that strife to wring out to tear the need right out of itself by peeling back the skin and breaking each finger in the hand
To retaliate for not possessing the One answer that would stop the pain of its own committing -- if that were true:
1) 'In the morning I don't want to know where I'll be in the afternoon.' But in the afternoon, I'll know exactly where I've been. 2) 'A dead writer has no ego' . . . and a live reader dances upon its grave.
3) 'Where would you be if you left all your troubles behind?' Beating my Maker in a friendly game of checkers and having Her unbegrudgingly foot the cost of the champagne. (Credit nothingprofound's blog out of context: pieces of life for the savvy, clean launching points, me for the extensions.)
Collected Poems: Phillip Larkin The Great Code: Northrup Frye A People's Tragedy: Orlando Figes
Cultural Amnesia: Clive James Selected Poems: Anna Akhmatova An Empire Of Their Own: Neil Gabler
War And Peace: Leo Tolstoy
Some of these are quite newly added, some around and pecked at/set down/resurgent for as long as almost 3 years. All of the above so fascinating as to dwarf the random occurrences of daily life which often succeed only when they're survived.
This is Day 14 of the Death Cold, the Andromeda Strain, the Satan Bug -- whatever the Center For Disease Control winds up calling it somewhere on a back-link of an obscure medical website no longer useful as public caution but safe place enough to risk shock data one is 'responsible' for.
It's played with my larynx, my uvula, my nasal lining, and is squeezing the walls of my pulmones, tickling my bronchii.
I sometimes wail to the heavens for pity, but the gurgle hardly leaves my crusted lips before a flash of sunlight teases the blinds long enough to heat the room and contrast its interior damp.